Ever wondered what it would be like to wake up to freshly-baked bread on a houseboat called “Noah’s Ark” and moored on the Somme river in northern France? Or to ogle the sunset over Lyon from a treehouse perched in the forest?
With Airbnb’s recent overhaul of their platform — designed to make it easier than ever to search by category for your dream rental, from treehouses to historical homes to geometric domes — it’s the perfect time to book un petit séjour somewhere special.
While a Parisian pied-à-terre is always a good idea, the city swarms with tourists come June and July — so why not look a bit further afield for a more authentically French experience? With so many unique properties available to rent all across France, now is as good a time as ever to try something (and someplace) new. Here at Frenchly, to pair with our recent roundup of cities to visit other than Paris, we’ve collected a list of five of the most unique Airbnbs available for rent around France this summer.
There are plenty of reasons to visit Lyon — the food scene being the most famous — and while there are apartments aplenty for rent in the city, why not take it all in from a new perspective: namely, a treehouse. Just across the Saône river from one of the brightest beacons of French gastronomy, Restaurant Paul Bocuse, this unique bed and breakfast offers a lofted Queen-sized bed with immediate views over the river, as well as a common area with two sofa beds. Beloved for its prime sunset views, it’s an enchanting place to wake up before a full day of wandering and eating your way through Lyon. A particularly charming detail is the breakfast spread, which is delivered each morning in a pannier directly to your terrace via a pulley system. ($300/night)
Headed to Champagne for vineyard visits? A short drive away, these wood and glass domes at La Réserve de l’Aube (located in nearby Villenauxe-la-Grande) offer a rustic experience without having to actually rough it. Designed with form and function in mind, these geometric structures seem to blend into their surroundings, with glass paneled roofs that reflect the forest. Private bathrooms with panoramic views are located just outside the door of the domes, where skylights transform showers into an immersive experience. Also on offer: a shared pool (the adults-only property allows a maximum of six guests at a time, so you’re sure to be able to stake out a spot) and free breakfast. ($250/night)
Give yourself the royal treatment with a getaway in this sumptuously restored 17th-century château, located in southwestern France. Featured in Vogue, it’s an ideal rental for a group getaway (think birthday or bachelor/ette — the listing says no parties, which nixes weddings), as it sleeps 16 comfortably. With 9 bedrooms and 9.5 baths, a formal dining room, a cavernous stone kitchen, a rose gold tub fit for a king, multiple outdoor dining set-ups with sweeping views of the valley and a sprawling two-level pool, this is the ideal backdrop to live out your very own French fairytale. ($2000/ night)
This classically renovated 3-bedroom mill in the charming hillside town of Goult dates back to 1846, but offers all the creature comforts expected of a modern B&B. Well-appointed with a modern kitchen and comfortable beds, you’d be forgiven for almost forgetting that an actual, once-functional mill is visible from the basement level. Outside, mulberry trees fringe the pool, where you can take a dip or relax with a glass of rosé on the chaise lounges; there’s also a quaint seating area shaded by fig trees, where you can enjoy an al fresco lunch overlooking the vineyards. ($350/night)
Guests rave about this “Noah’s Ark” on the Somme river, a renovated 1902 houseboat in northern France. Kayaks are available to take advantage of the unique waterfront location, while two bikes are also offered in order to explore the towns nearby and the famous veloroute (bike path). The top deck is furnished to enjoy the great outdoors, with a grill available for barbecuing; down below, the stylishly-appointed interior comfortably sleeps two. Guests note that the tour of the property and the breakfast, both provided by the hosts, are particularly memorable touches. ($100/night)
Sophie Dodd is a travel and lifestyle writer who covers hotels, wine, and all things France. She writes for Travel + Leisure, People Magazine, Frenchly and more. Follow her adventures in Brooklyn and beyond on her Instagram account.